Miscarriage at 7 Weeks + Surviving the Storm

I never thought I’d join this club. To be honest, I never thought I’d even have to share about this. And really I don’t have to. No one is telling me that I do. But deep down. It needs to be out of me. So here goes. 

About a month ago I had a miscarriage at 7 and a half weeks.

 Pyk and I photographed by Valeriya Maltsava

Pyk and I photographed by Valeriya Maltsava

**Exhale.**

When you go into trying to have a baby you think thoughts like:

“I’m not going to tell anyone we are trying, I don’t want pressure from anyone, I’ve got enough from myself.”

“What if it takes a while?’

“What if it never happens?”

“What if the thing I’ve dreamed about (being a mom) for so long isn’t in my near future?”

 

There are deeper and darker thoughts that I don’t even want to get into once you start actively trying to have a baby. At some point I even envied people who it just ”happened” to. Silly, really, because unless everyone involved is ready for it, and unless you want it, there always seems to be victims in those situations. 

 

And then one day, shortly after starting to try, it happened. 

I was pregnant. 

And it was wonderful. 

 

Those first few weeks are strange and beautiful. All of a sudden your body is changing in miraculous ways and all you can do is cheer it on by eating healthy, taking vitamins, and avoiding all the millions of things you need to once your pregnant. 

 

Our days were filled with smiley side-glances between Pyk and I. Talking about the baby… boy? Girl? Names we loved.. him asking me to stop drinking coffee.. me conceding and drinking decaf maybe once or twice a week for a taste fix. Little things. Feeling my body change from the inside. This whole feeling of getting ready. A feeling of never being alone. 

 

I’ll never ever forget the day I told my mom, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so happy. We told our parents and our closest friends who had just had babies. “Just in case”.  Then I told Pyk one day that I was going to tell my cousins, I didn’t care if the news would probably then spread around my family, but that if something happened, I’d need them to support me. 

 

The day before I had planned to tell them I was waiting for Pyk to meet me after a shoot to go out for lunch. I took a quick bathroom visit before heading to the restaurant when I saw the faintest spotting and had some cramping. 

 

I unraveled. 

 

Quickly calling the doctor we got an emergency visit with her that afternoon and what do you know? There’s a beautiful little shrimp in there, with a beautiful little heartbeat. My whole life changed. My whole existence was something bigger. I’ve never ever lived a moment more magical.  We should have recorded the heartbeat. There was never so beautiful a sound. 

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We went home with lighter hearts and I rested for that evening. Over the course of the night I had more and more pain until it was absolutely unbearable and woke Pyk up to tell him we needed to go to the hospital. 

 

I knew. 

I didn’t want to know. 

But I knew. 

Somehow the little heartbeat would have already gone on. 

 

The most painful thing wasn’t the excruciating physical pain of the miscarriage. But seeing the empty ultrasound only 12 hours after seeing it full of life. 

 

I remember the message I sent to our family and friends, “Our little shrimp wasn’t made for this world. We were so lucky to have loved him/her for the last 7 weeks.” 

 

And it’s true. We are so lucky. And I wish I could change that message, because we still love our little 7. That won’t ever change. That will always be my first pregnancy. And we will forever love that little soul.

 

I read a book recently that a friend sent to me. It talks about all the little unborn babies in heaven being raised by angels, just waiting to meet us one day. It’s a beautiful thought, comforting that one day we’ll meet her/him. 

 

It sounds silly really, I mean, 7 weeks isn’t long. And really, the little shrimp wasn’t even the SIZE of a shrimp, just a cluster of cells. But the thing is, you cannot measure love in weeks, or in number of cells, or in number of tears shed. 

 

After the miscarriage I can only describe it as emptiness. 

A void of feeling. 

A physical void in your body. 

A whole future, changed. 

A whole life together you had imagined, gone.  

 

It was like screaming into a cave without any sound echoing back. Just loud silence. 

I feel silly over a month later still breaking down in tears in the metro, or just while washing my face. But it’s not. It’s really not silly. It’s normal. 

 

Miscarriage feels like the most awful hurricane right above you, when it happens. And you and your partner are just sitting there, in it. No umbrellas. No cover. Feeling exactly like the storm itself, thinking how could it have been sunny yesterday? 

Then your family comes with umbrellas. They sit with you. Hold you. Cover you. But rain is still coming from every direction, bouncing off the ground and sweeping in from all sides. Everyone is feeling the storm.

As time goes on, the clouds get lighter and the rain lets up little by little. But the thing is, the storm, even when lessens, seems to follow you. Catching you off guard without an umbrella. 

Those damn sun showers can be killer. 

And all you can do is hope with every pore, fiber, and being, that one day, there will be a rainbow. 

 

**To everyone out there who has felt this kind of loss. I see you. I’m with you. And if ever you need an umbrella. I’m here.**

Post script: To be honest, before this I didn’t realize how many women have had miscarriages. It’s more normal than not, yet before you’re in it, you don’t know that. I’ve spent hours in forums and on blogs reading other people’s experiences. And it helped so much. I wanted to write this to both get it out, and to give back even just a little of what I got. 

The Best Place to Propose (Right Outside) Paris II Suprise Proposal Photographer in Paris

Ohhh how I LOOOOVE proposals. They're always filled with so much joy I swear I feel happy for days afterwards! L + B are the sweetest. Both a bit reserved, I made every joke in the book to try and have them relax for their portraits both before and after the proposal. I'm pretty sure it worked because LOOK AT THESE SWEET PORTRAITS! Seriously. I'm so excited to see them on their walls. Every day it'll take them back to this amazing moment.

 You can actually SEE the ring box in his pocket here!! How cute is that!  GIVERNY, FRANCE SURPRISE PROPOSAL PHOTOGRAPHY, KATIE DONNELLY

You can actually SEE the ring box in his pocket here!! How cute is that!

GIVERNY, FRANCE SURPRISE PROPOSAL PHOTOGRAPHY, KATIE DONNELLY

Giverny is really the perfect place to propose. It's right outside Paris (about an hour drive or train ride) and is CONSTANTLY in bloom! The flowers are always changing there so you always have an array of colors and foliage as a stunning background. These portraits are from mid-April (to give you an idea of what you can expect around that time). If you search Giverny in the search box on the sidebar you'll see other sessions and proposals I've done there at different times.

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I always say, there are two ways to do a surprise proposal, we can meet somewhere and I'll be photographing around "like a tourist" and then capture your proposal secretly followed by an engagement session.

OR

Tell your future fiancé that you organized a photo session (or was gifted one by a family member/friend) and propose during the session. This is my preferred way because then it gives your future fiancé a heads up to prep what they want to wear in the portraits and make sure they look nice! AND you don't have to create a weird reason to be at a certain place, at a specific time per the first one.

I've done them both ways and have a 100% success rate (ha!) so even though I have a preference, you're the one in control.

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L+B,  Thank you for your trust and being absolute sweethearts. I cannot wait until life crosses our paths again!

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If you'd like to get more info on proposals or to reserve a session with me, please get in touch here!

HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY DANTE! At Home Newborn Session with I Heart Paris + The Flying Poodle II Newborn Photography Paris

I cannot beleive it's been an entire year since sweet Dante made his grand entrance into the world, an especially my heart. Two ways to describe him: Gigantic (he looks like a two year old now!) and ever smiling (just my type of person, eh?).

Federico and Anastasia, I couldn't be happier for your little family and cannot wait to see Dante grow! For now, here's a flashback to his sweet newborn session we did in their home a year ago!

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The Perfect Parisian Breakfast II Rebecca Plotnick of Everyday Parisian by Paris Blogger Photographer, Katie Donnelly

You know when you associate some people with certain smells or foods? Well, I associate darling Rebecca of Everyday Parisian with CROISSANTS! Seriously, she’s a girl who’s soul belongs in a Parisian boulangerie. For real. 

If you’ve ever read her blog, you’ll know she’s all about everything Parisian wherever she goes. But luckily, I get to always see her in her element, in Paris!

We did this little session at her amazing Haven In Paris apartment here in Paris during her birthday week! The fresh fruit, coffee, and croissant and baguettes are just the perfect breakfast, and the perfect surrounding for her

What do you think of this breakfast? Would you add anything? 

Notes From the Bride: Why I Don't Have Post Wedding Blues

Our wedding(s) were spectacular in their own ways..

Prepping them? Well, some would call it a labor of love.. but it sort of just felt like labor. 

In hindsight, we complicated our lives and had sky high expectations of perfection. 

Please, future brides, don't do that. 

We enjoyed our three(!!) weddings enormous amounts. For me, living as an expat, they gave me an incredible chance to spend a ton of time with my extended family which was absolutely a blessing. Those small moments, making endless mojito popsicles with my cousins, ordering my bouquet 3 days before our NY wedding with my aunt, saying a little prayer together before our Bordeaux wedding with my friend and MUHA. I'll never forget them. Ever. 

Those moments make up a huge part of the wedding experience because they're so much more profound than the 100, 1 minute identical conversations you'll have on the day of your wedding ("Congratulations! You look beautiful, how are you? I'll let you go say hello to everyone else, we'll chat later." And then you never get to chat) 

Maybe it sounds ungrateful, but honestly, I'm not going to apologize for wanting better conversation than small talk with the people I love most in the world. That was the thing I absolutely didn't like about the wedding, you have all of these people giving you so much love through their presence, words, and overall energy, and I didn't feel like I could properly thank them, ever, or show them enough gratitude for being there on a day that was so special to me.

It felt, unbalanced. 

I've struggled really hard with trying to get over these feelings and one by one, see all of our friends and family and spend quality time with them, just to thank them for supporting us, lifting us up, and their unending love. It'll take years, a lifetime perhaps. 

But really right now what we are doing is enjoying being together again. This time a bit more bonded then before, but with none of the stress of planning a big event. Now each time we go and visit my in-laws it's just hanging out, and not checking off endless to-do lists. Now when I talk to my cousins, it's catching up and joking around, not asking for advice because I'm stressed. Our life has gone back to being simple. Our free time has gone back to revolving around enjoying time with our families and friends, and traveling. 

Engaged was great, but marriage? Even better.

 Pyk thanking our families and friends.. I could say it every day and it wouldn’t be enough. We are so grateful to everyone for their love. So, so grateful. 

Pyk thanking our families and friends.. I could say it every day and it wouldn’t be enough. We are so grateful to everyone for their love. So, so grateful. 

Notes From the Bride: The Highlights from Our Wedding Day(s) AND OUR WEDDING VIDEO!!

There are so many things I’ve already forgotten but these are what have stayed months later as highlights (video at the end!!):

Bordeaux, Town hall:

(Photos in this section by my amazing associate photographer, Valeriya

Venue: Bordeaux Town Hall and My In Laws home

My dress: Banana Republic)

- My cousins flying in 1-2 weeks before the weddings to be with us. That extra time was sacred!!

- Our best friends flying in for our town hall wedding (my bff came straight from the airport to the town hall with her husband!!) To see her there when we first said "Oui" was absolutely amazing. I'm so grateful. 

 My bff and I being silly

My bff and I being silly

- Tents in my in-laws backyard covering us from the crazy rain as we danced into the night. The rain didn’t matter. 

- My father-in-law opening SO many bottles of wine

- My mother in-law making our favorite sorbets for dessert

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- My cousin playing and singing a few songs for Pyk and I

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- Looking around and thinking how lucky we are

- Wearing my favorite white dress that I wore the day he proposed, and the day we got our civil union, and then the day we were officially married!!

- Face timing with my Brother who couldn’t be there in France

- My Uncle Bob going nuts on the dance floor (aka the back patio!)

- Failing at a balloon arch but laughing about it because it really didn’t matter. People weren’t coming for that. 

 

Bordeaux, Chateau:

(Photos in this section by Bubblerock

Hair and makeup: Kendra Hittinger

My dress: Rue de Seine from Lovely Bride

His custom suit: Samson Bordeaux

Caterers: Deval

Venue: Chateau Isabeau de Naujan )

- HOLY BUCKETS OF RAIN and it pouring up until 5 minutes before the outdoor ceremony

- Praying for it to stop. It did =)

- All of the insane help we got from our friends and family setting up the decorations - Our friend Vanessa making our amazing flower arch, my cousins and friends setting up the whole reception room!!!, soooooo many people putting their love into our day

- How low the cars were after loading them with all the wine and champagne to bring them to the chateau  (ha!)

- Missing Pyk during the day - I wish I saw him more. I would have been more calm. 

- Meeting my 4 month old baby cousin!!

- Having almost my whole paternal family with us

- Feeling TIRED (not a highlight but honestly, was SO SO tired from the week of festivities already!)

- Asking my dad right before him walking me down the aisle if he was happy. He looked me in the eyes and simply said, “Yes”, and the calm I felt after hearing that!

- Brushing my teeth right before the ceremony because I forgot that morning! It was a bit ridiculous because I was already in my wedding dress and about to go outside to our first look!

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- The feeling of shock and happiness walking down the aisle and seeing so many people from so many parts of our lives, all in one place

- Crying during our ceremony - it couldn’t have been more perfect

- Literally tying the knot with Pyk

- THE FOOD BEING AMAZING, OHHHH MY GOODNESS

- The incredible sunset after a cloudy and stormy week (man, did the universe come through for us or what?!!!)

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- My cousin’s amazing toast

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- Falling asleep on the dance floor

- After the brunch the next day, hanging out on lounge chairs with our friends

- Hanging out, wine tasting, and heading to the beach with our friends and family for the few days after the wedding. Coming down from wedding craziness. 

- A few days of relaxing in Tuscany, Italy to come back down to earth and enjoy being married

- Bringing a huge flamingo floatie on our honeymoon. Naming him "Clement" and relaxing on him in the pool for ages. Pyk thought I was insane to take up half my suitcase with him. I have no regrets =)

 

NEW YORK:

(Photos by Jillian Rollins Photography

My dress: Rue de Seine from Lovely Bride

His custom suit: Samson Bordeaux

Tent rentals: Cartwright & Daughters Tent & Party Rentals

Hair and Makeup: Made Up)

- The week spent with my family prepping my dad's house and backyard for 130 people

- Marrying him for the third time

- SO many friends coming in and offering at the last minute to make our wedding even more personalized and beautiful! From stunning handwritten signs to the centerpieces.. it really felt like a family affair and I LOVED it

- The amazing sermon from my pastor during our blessing

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- Good BBQ

- Having my whole maternal family in one place

- My nephew the ring bearer dropping the rings and finding them and then coming up during the ceremony to tell me (It was the cutest thing, he wanted to do such a good job and he did! I LOVED that he was part of our wedding!!)

- Having great American beer on tap

- Not feeling stressed!!

- Feeling so happy

- Dancing with so many people

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- Hanging out way too late

- My two cousins performing their song "Katie, Pyk's Lady" to the tune of My Girl (this was absolutely HYSTERICAL and amazing in all it's forms.. SO GOOD)

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- Smiling so much my face hurt

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AND FINALLY

- Relief that we'd survived 3 weddings and still had our sanity!! Ha! 

As a little end to show you even more visually how awesome our wedding was, here's our Bordeaux wedding video made by Bubblerock.

PASSWORD = bubblerock

Notes from the Bride: What Not To Say to a Couple Before (or on) Their Wedding Day

Oh boy, it's funny, until you've had your own wedding, people don't realize that you are 1000x more sensitive to ANY comment about your wedding day. These are some of the off the cuff comments that people said to us that made us be like, "Did you actually just say this??”  (P.S. Please read all of my responses with a heavy dose of sarcasm.. I didn’t actually say these things, and responded like a normal adult, swallowing my sarcastic replies and replacing them with cordial responses.. people mean well, but sometimes are better off just not saying anything haha)

 

Preface for this first one: It rained literally ALL week before our wedding and downpoured on our wedding day. The rain stopped 5 minutes before our outside ceremony started. The biggest thing we heard around our wedding day was: 

 

"Mariage pleuvieux, Mariage hereux!" Aka "Rain on your wedding day is good luck".  

NO.  

STOP.  

Oh, you actually thought that I didn't notice it was raining and that it's not internally freaking me out? Kind sir, is it really "good luck" when on July 1st, a day that NORMALLY doesn't have precipitation, that it rains? REALLY!???? No, it's bad luck. Stop telling me that it isn't, good luck was that it stopped 5 minutes before our ceremony. And please; PLEASE, just don't even remind me a few days before that the weather forecast is crap. I know. Also, the saying is actually, "Mariage PLUS VIEUX, mariage hereux" aka The older the couple the happier the wedding", Which, well also doesn't apply because I was 25.  

 

 

"So do you have your dress??" 

Ma'am, it's 4 days before my wedding, I freaking hope so. And if I don't, thanks for asking about something that's enormously stressing me out . I actually laughed whenever I heard this.  

 

 

Anything that pertains to vendors not being on time or something not going right. 

There were like 30 things that went wrong or late the day of our wedding and I knew about zero of them until a few days later. Wedding rule numero uno. DON'T STRESS THE BRIDE. If anything, talk to the maid of honor, the best-man, or the day of coordinator. These people are there to be the point people so the bride and groom don't need to deal with it.  

 

 

Any complaints that you have during the reception or things you would have done differently.  

It's not your wedding. It's not your wedding. IT'S NOT YOUR WEDDING.. Let me repeat that: it's not your wedding. The couple has worked so hard for this day and is envisioning that everything is going to go perfectly. They've done their best to be sure that everyone will have a good time and not start their marriage in tons of debt. Keep your comments to yourself and if you notice that something is wrong or dangerous during the reception, talk to the MOH or BM or the vendor in question. They'll help you!  

 

 

A few weeks before the wedding: "Can I bring x person with me?" Or, "Oh just to let you know, I'm coming with a +1" 

  1. No. 

  2. No, you're not. 

This was something to ask when you received your invitiation and RSVP'd and we have every right to decline inviting them.  

 

 

"You should really invite x person."

It's okay to ask the couple if they're inviting somene, and if it's the parents of the couple requesting you invite someone, it's definitely okay. But hounding the couple to invite someone that they've already chosen NOT to invite isn't cool. It's the coffee test, if you would go out alone with this person to coffee, then you should invite them. If you would never do that and only see them in bigger social gatherings, it's not surprising if you don't invite them. Don't hound the couple because you want your friend invited. It's not your wedding. It's theirs. 

 

 

"This is getting really expensive to come. " 

Oof. I can't tell you how much that offhand comment affected me. It was your decision to come, I didn't force you, and I would never ever ever hold it against you if you didn't come because of financial issues. I didn't invite you because I wanted a gift, we invited you because your gift would already be your presence. You chose your hotel, your dress, your gift. You chose how much to spend. You could have RSVP'd no. This was your choice, please don't make me pay for it with guilt.  

 

 

"Your mariage isn't really a true wedding because it's not x religion. "

WHAT?! Please, don't impose your religious views on anyone. If the couple decides they want a religious wedding or not, it's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. If you don't support the union, don't come, but more importantly, keep that negativity to yourself.  Marriage is an incredible commitment, and whatever marriage means to the couple is between the two of them. It’s not your place to judge. Please, just be happy for the couple!

 

 

Instead, here are some ideas to talk to the couple about their wedding day: 

Anything you appreciated during the ceremony or the reception..

Things like: "Congratulations, we wish you happiness and love for many many years" 

Beautiful choice on x thing (music, readings, dinner, venue etc.) 

"Your nephew, the ring bearer, was absolutely adorable!" 

"This was the best wedding ever!"

"Can you share your vendors with us for our wedding ?"

or simply

“Congratulations"

Small notes of happiness and positivity towards the happy couple go a looooong way and are always appreciated. Anything that will put a smile on their face is what you should be saying, anything not in that category.. please keep to yourself. 

 

We actually heard all of these things above, the good and the bad. It was like 99% good but that 1% bad seriously weighed down on us! Please know that your words are powerful and can easily change a moment of happiness into one of stress, guilt, worry, and pain. I know this because I lived it. None of these people wanted to hurt us, there was no malicious intent, but that doesn't change the fact that we are still dealing with the after effects months after hearing them. The wedding day is not your day to air dirty laundry about the couple, it's not your day in general. It's their day, and it's your time to support them in any way you can. If you were special enough to be invited to their wedding, it’s guaranteed they will support you in any way they can during your big life events, too.